ScienceGeologyHighlights

“Moving rocks” is an unexplained phenomenon that happens in the desert Mojave, region located between Nevada and California.

More precisely, it is possible to observe Playa Racetrack, in the famous Death Valley, United States national park full of geological history, where is the biggest depression of North America (-86 meters below sea level).

In this sandy desert, probably the bed of a lake, now dried up, large stones move. Nobody has ever seen to move, but the observer sees behind them a trail on the ground, sometimes far more than 50 meters. Scars from the rocks are varied: some pretty straight, some circular, others zig-zag.

 

Why two rocks side by side take totally different paths, because some remain steady?

For a long time why the move has confused geologists and scientists who have studied the extent to which the geologists CalTech conducted a study on them lasted seven years. They concluded that the reason why the rocks move is that, under certain weather conditions, rain or fog or dew makes the slippery mud and wet, and the winds push the rocks around. These huge stones have the ability to move through the dry and dusty surface of the desert sometimes up to 900 feet in a single movement.

 

While no one has ever seen a rock move, Dr. Robert P. Sharp, a geologist of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at California Institute of Technology di Pasadena, California,says it has monitored the movement of 30 stones from 1968 to 1974. The Dott. Sharp states that the stones move at speeds of up to three feet per second, and is known to have moved for two miles. At some point Dott. Sharp e Dwight Carey, previously belonging to the Department of Geology at U.C.L.A,have iron poles placed around each of the stones to measure the smallest movements. But even these did not represent an obstacle for the stones, once they have started to move. Apparently these posts have prevented 28 of 30 stones to escape and move out of the fence, said Dott. Sharp. Some immutable law of nature requires that the movement should take place only in the darkness of stormy nights. It ‘interesting that the 30 stones subsidiaries – says Dott. Sharp – seven of them are inexplicably disappeared without a trace. Any attempt at explanation was insufficient. Sharpe himself is proposing a combination of ice and wind that would act during the night (probably a similar phenomenon to that of “pipkrakes”,periglacial environment). But he admits that when any explanation is purely hypothetical.

 

Don Spalkingis the superintendent of the National Monument Death Valley. Knows Dr. Sharp,and knows the research of Dr.to understand what is really moving the stones.“Experts have come here to years” says, “none so far has seen a rock move. We know that they do, but do not know how or why. One of the park ranger said that the phenomenon has something to do with the magnetism of the earth. He said that certainly could be the wind and the mud becomes slippery when the ground is damp or wet, but that does not explain how two rocks close together can go in two opposite directions or one can stand still while a three times bigger moves. He said he has seen the rocks move for long stretches when the weather is perfectly dry and no wind, or simply when there were no “conditions” that they say are necessary to ensure that the phenomenon takes place.

Since it is a desert, rarely rains except in monsoon season, and sometimes there is so much fog in the morning, but the rocks are moving throughout the year. Could the sheer force of the wind move the stones on an icy surface? And how could this lake become covered with ice or frost during the night?

 

 

We are in a desert in California! So scientists continue to do research and to study the secrets of the mysterious moving rocks of Death Valley, California, in another classic example of the inexplicable.

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